Day 3 on our Alaska cruise out of Vancouver was a port day, in Ketchikan. Despite a weather forecast calling for a chance of rain, it was a beautiful – perfect for our flightseeing trip into Misty Fjords.
I caught the Alaska pilot’s boat leaving our side at 04:57.
Dawn was just breaking as the pilot’s boat left – sunrise would be an hour yet, at 05:50.
We neared Ketchikan at an extremely low tide. Note the floatplane next to the house – a great way to explore Southeast Alaska!
Ketchikan has a good-sized Coast Guard station, where this cutter was docked.
The Ketchikan docks at 05:40 – we were scheduled to arrive at 07:00.
The classic “Welcome to Ketchikan” sign.
We ordered breakfast in our cabin this morning but the quality wasn’t very good. It’s a widespread problem on cruise ships that nobody knows how to cook scrambled eggs – it’s not a form of soup, folks!
The view at our docking position, the 2nd from the north.
We walked the 4 blocks or so to the base of Island Wings, arriving just before 08:00 as pilot Michelle Madsen and an assistant were launching her float plane, an immaculate 1959 de Havilland Beaver.
08:14 – away we go!
A look at some of the homes across the channel from downtown Ketchikan.
An Alaska state ferry sails south from Ketchikan
This area is incredibly beautiful, and only from the air can you really understand not only how vast it is, but how little impact humans have on it.
An impressive spire known as New Eddystone Rock with a pair of bald eagles nesting on it.
By 08:40 we were approaching the most impressive part of Misty Fjords, with incredible cliffs and waterfalls.
Spring is late, and Father Winter is still in charge at fairly low elevations.
What a spot!
A closeup of the top of the waterfall seen in the photo above.
Beautiful colours in meltwater.
One of the more scenic locations.
This is the lake we were going to land on.
The approach to the landing.
We got off the plane on a little granite island, and spent about half an hour just trying to absorb the majesty of the place.
The group minus one in paradise.
Another Beaver takes off from the far end of our lake.
We took off from the lake at 09:25 – this is one of the many great sites on the way back to Ketchikan.
This freighter, up a fjord far from the open ocean, is loading raw logs for processors in Asia – one of the most controversial of forestry practices.
A high view of downtown Ketchikan, with the airport in the upper part of the photo.
We decided to get some local colour, and spent a while in the Arctic Bar, where we met the colourful local we were looking for. Great to meet you, Joe!
Sailing north from Ketchikan at 3:20.
The Ketchikan airport.
A distant look at Totem Bight park.
Evening light at 8:50pm.
Prince of Wales Island has some very impressive limestone formations, including this peak.
The right place at the right time – moonrise at 9:28pm while the rest of the group was in the casino
The Misty Fjords flight will certainly be one of the highlights of this trip – one of our group termed it a religious experience. Tomorrow, we visit Icy Strait Point, where we don’t have anything booked.